Human remains, luggage and remnants of an emergency chute have been discovered by rescue teams trying to recover the missing plane Sriwijaya Air Flight 182.

Although Jakarta metropolitan police have yet to confirm the identity of the recovered body part, it's believed to have belonged to one of the passengers.

Indonesian police say the search for the aircraft will continue as officials attempt to find the aircraft which carried 62 passengers and crew, 10 of whom were children. It's understood the plan crashed in between Laki and Lacang Island with staff searching the areas using rescue boats and radar equipment.

 

Earlier today, Indonesian Navy official Abdu lRasyid has told Reuters news agency that they had determined missing plane Sriwijaya Air Flight 182's coordinates, with ships having been deployed to the location.

Indonesian military chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said that teams on the Rigel navy ship have been equipped with a remote-operated vehicle and had detected a signal from the aircraft, which fit the coordinates from the last contact made by the pilots before the plane went missing.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi later told reporters that authorities had launched a huge search effort after identifying "the possible location of the crash site."

The news comes after rescue crews discovered bits of debris in the ocean near where a Boeing 737 was last seen on flight radar, before it vanished just moments after take off from Jakarta.

The Indonesian passenger plane, operated by budget airline Sriwijaya Air with the flight number SJ182, rapidly lost 3000 metres in altitude in less than 60 seconds while flying north over the Java Sea.

The missing flight had taken off from Jakarta at 2.36pm local time (6.36pm Sydney time) and was heading northbound for the city of Pontianak.

The last contact with the flight was at 2.40pm (6.40pm Sydney time).

Among those on board were 10 children, including three infants, the nation's transport minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, told reporters.

The suspected crash site is near tourist islands just off the coast of Indonesia's sprawling capital.

Debris suspected to be from flight SJ182, which vanished after taking off from Jakarta.
Debris suspected to be from flight SJ182, which vanished after taking off from Jakarta.

Thousands Islands residents, a chain of islands located off the north coast of Jakarta, heard "two explosions" near the suspected crash sight.

Fisherman who went out to investigate the sounds have found debris, including plane fuselage, in the area.

"We found some cables, a piece of jeans, and pieces of metal on the water," security official Zulkifli told CNN Indonesia, Al Jazeera reports.

Distraught relatives waited nervously for news at the city's airport. "I have four family members on the flight - my wife and three children," Yaman Zai said as he sobbed.

"(My wife) sent me a picture of the baby today … How could my heart not be torn into pieces?" The plane took off on Saturday afternoon and a search and rescue operation began with no official results available on Saturday night.

"We deployed our team, boats and sea riders to the location suspected to be where it went down after losing contact," Bambang Suryo Aji, a senior official at the search-and-rescue agency, told reporters after nightfall.

 

Data from FlightRadar24 said the plane reached an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet (3,350 metres) before dropping suddenly to 250 feet. It then lost contact with air traffic control.

"Sriwijaya Air flight #SJ182 lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute, about 4 minutes after departure from Jakarta," the tracking agency said on its official Twitter account.

Broadcaster Kompas TV quoted local fishermen as saying they had found debris near islands just off the coast of the capital Jakarta, but it could not be immediately confirmed as having belonged to the missing jet.

Authorities and the airline gave no immediate indication as to why the plane suddenly went down.

But transport minister Sumadi said the jet appeared to deviate from its intended course just before it disappeared from radar.

Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 flight SJ182. Picture: Twitter.
Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 flight SJ182. Picture: Twitter.

Among the other passengers was Agus Minari and her husband who were on their way back to Pontianak after visiting her son and attending a funeral in Java, according to her cousin Deni Triady.

"The family is deeply shocked," Triady added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement offering his "sincere condolences" over the incident.

The budget airline, which has about 19 Boeing jets that fly to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, said only that it was investigating the loss of contact.

In October 2018, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX jet slammed into the Java Sea about 12 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta on a routine one-hour flight.

That crash - and a subsequent fatal flight in Ethiopia - saw Boeing hit with $2.5 billion in fines over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model, which was grounded worldwide following the two deadly crashes.

The Boeing jet thought to have crashed Saturday is not a MAX model and was 26 years old, according to authorities.

"We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation," the US-based planemaker said in a statement.

"We are working to gather more information."

A search and rescue operation quickly began and continues today.

"We deployed our team, boats and sea riders to the location suspected to be where it went down after losing contact," Bambang Suryo Aji, a senior official at the agency, told reporters after nightfall.

 


Indonesia's aviation sector has long suffered from a reputation for poor safety, and its airlines were once banned from entering US and European airspace.

In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed with the loss of 162 lives. Domestic investigators' final report on the AirAsia crash showed a chronically faulty component in a rudder control system, poor maintenance and the pilots' inadequate response were major factors in what was supposed to be a routine flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

A year later, in 2015, more than 140 people, including people on the ground, were killed when a military plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Medan on Sumatra island.

The flight had been scheduled to land at 3.15pm local time.
The flight had been scheduled to land at 3.15pm local time.


In a statement Sriwijaya Air said it was "in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information" and will provide more information when it comes to hand.

The budget airline, which has about 19 Boeing jets that fly to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, said only that it was investigating the loss of contact.

Originally published as Human remains, luggage found at crash site


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